Growing Begonia ‘Autumn Ember’ p.p.a.f. (Begonia rhizomatous hybrid)

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

begonia autumn ember

Begonias are some of the easiest plants to grow in containers in a home environment. Our newest hybrid, ‘Autumn Ember’ has taken the begonia world by storm with its brilliant orange leaves. This rhizomatous begonia hybrid is a cross between Begonia ‘Marmaduke’ and Begonia ‘Angel Glow.’ Selected out of a group of seedlings, ‘Autumn Ember’ shows the brightest orange coloring, especially when they are newly emerging as juvenile leaves. When grown with other begonias, ‘Autumn Ember’ literally glows in comparison and when seen from afar, the mass of orange leaves catches the attention of all who gaze upon it.

Growth Habit:
Medium-sized leaves spread by rhizomes and can be pinched to create a well-branched bushy form. The color intensity of the leaves depends on the amount of light. In the wintertime, we have noticed there is no green at all, and believe it is the quality of light at that time that turns the leaves orange. The older leaves will eventually fade and soften in color.

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Grow Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and Other Popular Beverage Plants

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Roselle Jamaican Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Roselle Jamaican Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Popular beverages, such as Coffee (Coffea Arabica), Tea (Camellia sinensis), and Cocoa (Theobroma cacao), are world renown and easy plants to grow and harvest. A couple more plants that we recommend adding to your favorite beverage list are Yerba Mate’ (Ilex paraguariensis) much like green tea loaded with anti-oxidants, and Roselle Hibiscus Tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa), which is high in Vitamin C.

Let’s start with a well-known plant like coffee. The enjoyment and ritual around a morning cup of coffee has become an obsession, and now people drink coffee throughout the day. Growing your own coffee beans is fun and easy for the gardener.

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Check out our video on growing your own coffee and  Visit our You Tube channel for more great video’s on growing all types of tasty tropical treats!

How to Grow your own Coffee 

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The Best Kept Secret for Fragrance- The Rare and Easy-to-Grow Tree Lily

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Tree Lily  (Portlandia domingensis)

Tree Lily (Portlandia domingensis)

Introduction: Tree Lily is a wonderfully fragrant shrub from the Dominican Republic that draws attention for its fragrance and form. The 10” white pendulous blooms hang from its lateral branches and emit a rich nighttime fragrance. A member of the Rubiaceae family, it is related to the well-known gardenia and coffee plants.

Blooms: Tree Lily blooms intermittently from spring to fall and plants begin to flower at a young age when only 2’ tall or less. Blooms appear on the lateral branches of mature growth with flowers lasting for up to a week.

Light Level: One of the nicest features about this plant for container gardeners is its adaptation to lower light levels, since it prefers partial sun or even bright, indirect light. Give it some direct sun but not high noon sun.

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Six Easy-to-Grow Colorful Blooming Plants to Enliven your Indoor Space

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Abutilon 'Red Tiger'  (Abutilon hybrid)

Abutilon ‘Red Tiger’ (Abutilon hybrid)

As we prepare for winter and the colder days ahead, there are some colorful plants that can help ease the transition from one season to the next. While your outdoor plants are going to sleep for the winter, these indoor beauties are just waking up and putting on a festive floral show.
Some of our most colorful and favorite everblooming plants are:

1- Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus)- Most of our Cape Primroses will bloom 12 months of the year and several varieties, like our ‘Purple Panda,’ have outstanding two-toned flowers. Plus, their long velvety leaves are welcome greenery to the contrasting fall colors outside. Our newest variety, called ‘Roulette Cherry,’ has flowers that majestically rise above the foliage on elegant flower stems. Give these beauties partial sun to bright indirect light and do not get water on their leaves and they will delight your senses year-round.

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The Beautiful Desert Rose- How to Grow and Flower Adeniums

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Desert Rose 'Sweetheart'

Desert Rose ‘Sweetheart’

Adeniums are well-loved for their gorgeous flowers and their bulbous, caudiciform trunks. They are highly sought after plants and can remain a manageable size for years making them valuable container plants.

History
Adeniums are arid land plants native to sub-Saharan Africa and although there are several species, Adenium obesum is the one that’s frequently grown as an ornamental. The common name is Desert Rose and when plants are in bloom, they create a spectacular floral display.

Ornamental Beauty
When grown from seed, the plant forms a caudex, or swollen base or trunk, and this adds to its ornamental beauty. In recent years, much hybridization has been done creating a diverse range of flower colors and interesting floral forms. In order to propagate these hybrids, the mother plant is grafted onto a seedling, thus giving the plant a full, attractive caudex as well as a wide array of flowers in various colors, sizes and shapes.

Temperatures
Because they can tolerate dry conditions, adeniums are well suited for the home environment being able to tolerate quite a bit of neglect. Keep temperatures high, preferably above 60˙F, although they can take it a bit cooler if grown very dry. Really the hotter, the better, so a 70˙F or higher air temperature is best.

Light
In their native habitat, adeniums grow in full sun so they need good light to thrive. Direct sunlight is preferable, especially when they are in their active growth phase during the summer months.

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Grow The Largest Flower in The World- Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) A Plant Geek’s Biggest Challenge!

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

The Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus titanum, is a single inflorescence that reaches an astounding height of 6-9’ tall. It only Corpse Flower flowers once every 7-8 years and only 3-5 blooming events, from plants grown in cultivation, happen worldwide each year. This rare plant is for plant geeks who want a challenge and will be committed to nearly a decade of nurturing and pampering this rare and attractive giant.

Origin
Corpse Flower was first found in the tropical forests of Sumatra where even there, it is rare in its native habitat. It is a member of the Aroid family and also known as the Titan Arum.

About the Bloom
The bloom is magnificent with its frilly-edged maroon petal completely circling the center spadix. It’s known as the Corpse Flower because of the raunchy smelling odor, similar to rotten meat, when in full bloom. However, this does attract the pollinators like flies and beetles in the wild. In cultivation, hand pollination is required. A beautiful seed stalk forms after the flower is pollinated…

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Growing Outrageously Colorful Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

These large, eye-catching, dinner-plate sized hibiscus represent the words “tropical flower” better than any other. Originating in Asia and the Pacific Islands, Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii. Decades of intense cross breeding with the rosa sinensis species has produced some unbelievable multi-colored blooms. The American Hibiscus Society was formed in 1950 to promote, develop and improve upon the hundreds of varieties that were quickly emerging.

Single vs. Double
There is both single and double flowering tropical hibiscus in the rosa sinensis species. The ‘Fancy’ cultivars have growth habits of both upright and spreading. Within this group, reside two general forms: the brightly colored, usually sold colored single blooms (sometimes double) that propagate easily and are often used as seasonal potted plants as well as tropical landscape shrubs. hese are often sheared to hedges in frost-free landscapes.

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